In terms of balancing web design and search engine optimization, your most valuable tool is the client survey. I called upon Geoff Roy from LeapFrog Internet Marketing for his expertise on this subject, he explained that although you might understand that SEO and good design have conflicting interests, your clients won’t. In order to strike the right balance, it is critical to find out exactly want the client wants to get from the project and where their priorities really lie. It can be very helpful to use a client survey to get the views of the client before the project even starts. So what can you do to ensure that all the aspects covered by your work include the right design/SEO balance?
The Client Survey And SEO
Your client will probably not be able to work out how to achieve the best SEO. After all, if they could do this on their own, they probably wouldn’t have hired you to help them. Therefore, you need to get to this indirectly with your questions.
Begin by asking the client who do they want to visit their website, and what would they like the individuals to do on their site once they get there. However, don’t just ask them the who and what questions, also ask them why. If you have a good understanding of why the client wants those specific customers along with why it is expected that those customers are going to be interested in the client’s products or services, this will be very helpful to you in terms of targeting your optimization efforts.
Ask the client to furnish you with a competitor website list. This will not only provide you with insight into what maybe draws individuals into those websites, but also can offer you additional information on what you are competing against. You can then analyze these websites to figure out how they have been optimized, and then use this as a starting point.
The Client Survey And Design Considerations
SEO considerations are based in part on what the competition is doing. On the other hand, the focus of design considerations should be focused more on the clients wishes and preferences.
Ask the client to pick out a few websites that they really find appealing, and ask them to explain what they find so attractive and why. Collect as much information as possible on the client’s existing design and branding. In this area, your questions can be a lot more direct. Ask them questions about what is appealing to them. Also ask if their company has any data on what kinds of things appeal to their customers.
It can be help here to also make comparisons with competitors. However, when it comes to design you really want to stand out from the rest of the pack and offer something different.
This portion of the survey should be used to encourage your client to think creatively. This will make them feel as though they have input into the design process. You want the client to really love the finished website and take ownership of it.
Striking The Perfect Balance
It is good in its own right to have information on design and SEO needs. However, it really is only helpful when you are able to achieve the right balance. Once you have guided the client through the design and functional processes, it is time to have them prioritize. Ask the customer to put all of the features they would like to have in a prioritized list. Also, have them specifically address questions regarding any areas that may conflict. For example, are they more interested in making the website more accessible to repeat visitors or drawing new visitors to the website.
This is not only about informing the decisions you have made during the design process, although that is certainly part of what you are doing. It also has to do with justifying your decisions and also helping to prevent changes of heart in the future. If a client says they would like to have short, clear blocks of text, but later hear that could have an adverse effect on their SEO efforts, then it is possible they might demand you makes changes to your work.
If they understood from the very beginning that easily understood, short text will not achieve high search rankings, it is less likely they will change their mind. You will also have something you can refer them to if they try to blame you for something they had decided on originally.
The Key Is Collaboration
You will of course be applying your own expertise and knowledge, in addition to translating the client’s ideas into design elements and SEO action. It is a collaboration between the client and you. However, the more information you can get from the client at the very start of the project, the happier they are likely to be with the finished product.
- Image credit MyBlogGuest.com
Amy Rice enjoys writing about internet marketing and SEO, when not writing she goes swimming and heads off for long walks in the countryside.